There is a meme currently circling the web which says, “Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks and the other half are going to come out with a drinking problem.” For us, we hope for all that it will be the earlier of the two. With added time, the tradition of a home cooked meal couldn’t be more comforting in the current societal climate and while it means that a succulent steak from the local steakhouse is off the cards for the foreseeable future, it provides an opportunity to become a red meat connoisseur of sorts in the home.
Thanks to Nichole Dailey, Chef De Cuisine at Traeger Grill, we’re proud to bring you the ultimate cheat sheet for exact temperatures, timings and colour to achieve a restaurant-worthy steak at home. Known as a revolutionary brand for over 30 years when it comes BBQ grilling and outdoor cooking, trust us when we say the team at Traeger Grill are experts.
Here are the basic steak doneness ranges (Yes, we’ve been assured that when talking steak, doneness is a word).
CHECKING THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR STEAK
How do you know when the centre of your steak has reached the proper temperature? The best way is the surest — scientific measurement.
For the best steak every time, invest in a digital thermometer with a thin probe and know for sure when that pricey cut is at the peak of perfection. Now let’s talk about how to get there:
When you’re cooking a steak, you’re really doing two things:
1. Searing the surface of the steak — which you want to get up to at least 140 degrees Celsius
2. Heating the inside of the steak – which you want to keep much cooler.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CLASSIC STEAK ‘DONENESS’ LEVELS
RARE – Just a minimal sear on the exterior of the meat. People cook it rare because they’re embarrassed to eat it fresh out of the fridge in front of guests.
• Internal Temperature: 49-51°C
• Grill Time: ~2.5 minutes per side
• Centre Colour: Red
• Centre Temperature: Cool
MEDIUM RARE – A truly seared steak. A medium rare steak is the recommended doneness to taste the natural flavour of the meat. It’s usually how meat connoisseurs and chefs like to eat it.
• Internal Temperature: 55-57°C
• Grill Time: ~3.5 minutes per side
• Centre Colour: Pink with thin brown stripes on top and bottom.
• Centre Temperature: Room Temperature
MEDIUM – Almost everyone is happy with this doneness, it’s not as bloody or as dry as the Sahara Desert.
• Internal Temperature: 60-63°C
• Grill Time: ~4.5 minutes per side
• Centre Colour: Some pink
• Centre Temperature: Lukewarm
WELL – It’s definitely cooked, still showcases the flavour of the meat.
• Internal Temperature: 65-69°C
• Grill Time: ~5.5 minutes per side
• Centre Colour: Sliver of light pink
• Centre Temperature: Warm
WELL DONE – It’s browned and cooked throughout.
• Internal Temperature: 71°C
• Grill Time: ~6.5 minutes per side
• Centre Colour: Mostly brown
• Centre Temperature: Warm throughout
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! – This is the hockey puck of steaks – Go ahead and eat a salad if you hate steak this much.
• Internal Temperature: 75°C
• Grill Time: ~8-10 minutes per side
• Centre Colour: Brown throughout
• Centre Temperature: Hot off the grill
THE PERFECT STEAK
Always purchase high-quality meat. The quality determines the texture, tenderness, and how flavourful the steak will taste.
• The thicker the steak, the easier it is to cook and the better it will taste.
• Stop by your local butcher shop and ask for exactly what you want, i.e. a 2” thick cut steak.
Most grocery stores stock steak that is ½” to 1” thick, thin steak cooks faster and has less flavour.
• Pre-heat your grill and make sure the temperature is set to its highest temperature (200-260°C). Grilling steak can be a quick and easy process. Also, thick cut steak has more forgiveness with cook time and tenderness.
Try each of these steak cooking times at home and taste the rainbow of steak flavour to see what your favourite doneness is.